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Texas pastor Tracy Burleson in murder trial: "I did not kill my wife"

Texas pastor in murder trial: "I did not kill my wife"
(L-R) Tracy Burleson, Tyonne Palmer-Pollard and William Fuller CBS/KHOU

(CBS/KHOU) HOUSTON - Houston pastor Tracy Burleson is at the center of his wife's murder trial, which includes a murder-for-hire plot, greed and a bizarre love triangle involving his own son.

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According to CBS affiliate KHOU, prosecutors on Monday said Burleson paid his son William Fuller to kill his wife Pauletta Burleson, who police say was found shot in the back of the head outside the couple's home on May 18, 2010.

Burleson told police he and his wife had an argument on the night of the shooting and he left to buy snacks from a neighborhood store. Burleson said when he returned, he found his wife lying dead outside.

However, investigators didn't buy his story. Further investigation led police to the pastor's son. When they questioned Fuller, they say he cracked and made a shocking confession.

According to documents obtained by KHOU, Fuller admitted that he shot and killed his stepmother in a murder-for-hire plot allegedly devised by his father. It is a claim Burleson denied.

"I would never tell my son to do anything like that," Burleson said of the allegation. "I didn't pay my son. I didn't have no money to pay my son."

According to The Houston Chronicle, police believe Burleson convinced his son to kill his wife so he could profit from her life insurance.

Investigators said the pastor and his son were also having an affair with the same woman, Tyonne Palmer-Pollard. Officials said she assisted the gunman after he called and told her the pastor's wife had been shot. According to police reports, Palmer-Pollard picked up the gunman, drove him to get cleaned up and assisted in destroying the gun.

She was charged with tampering with evidence.

Burleson admitted he was involved with Palmer-Pollard and said he had found out about his son's affair with her a short time before his wife's death. He apologized to his congregation at the First New Mount Calvary Baptist Church about the affair, but maintained his innocence in his wife's death.

"I want them to know that I love being the pastor at the church and I am so sorry for the adultery. But I want them to know I did not kill my wife," Burleson said at the time of his arrest.

Church members were still getting over the loss of their church building when they found out the church's first lady was killed and their pastor was facing charges in her death. Their church burned to the ground just a week before Paulette Burleson was murdered.

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